This week researchers at the University of Minnesota published a paper showing that stem cells from the bone marrow can help kids with a blistering skin condition called epidermolysis bullosa. The disease is horrible. Lacking a protein to anchor skin in place, the children's blister at the slightest touch -- on their skin, in their throat, inside their eyelids, and anywhere else skin forms.
A disclaimer: this work was not funded by CIRM, nor does it directly have to do with stem cell research. It is, however, extremely cool, and strikes close to home. I spent hours as an undergrad slicing off the limbs of newts and marveling as the tiny fingers and toes re-emerged on newly formed limbs. Now Helen Blau
The past few days have sent the blogosphere -- especially the anti-embryonic stem cell blogosphere -- abuzz over a story by the Associated Press with the headline "Adult Stem Cell Research Far Ahead of Embryonic."
Two papers in Nature publications have raised questions about whether reprogrammed adult cells, called iPS cells, are truly interchangeable with embryonic stem cells as many have been assuming. The papers found that iPS cells created from different adult tissues still bear some hallmarks of those starting blocks.
Stanford scientists have overcome one significant hurdle in developing a therapy for muscle-wasting diseases like muscular dystrophy. Until now, the muscle stem cells that stand at the ready to repair muscle damage couldn't be grown outside the safe confines of a muscle. Once uprooted from their home and transferred to a laboratory dish, they matured into less useful progenitor cells. That's a problem because once mature the cells no longer have the potential to be transplanted to repair muscle damaged by injury or disease.